The statistics related to
elder neglect and abuse are similar to the statistics on child abuse and neglect. Elderly neglect is the most common type of domestic elder abuse to which the elderly are subjected. Elder
neglect occurs when an elderly individual is not provided with access to the
necessities required in order to live a happy and healthy life. Elderly neglect
can be physical or psychological in nature, and may have severe consequences
for a victim’s long-term physical and emotional health.
If physical neglect
occurs for an extended period of time, it may even result in death. In most
cases, the individuals responsible for elder neglect are family members or
caretakers entrusted with providing the victim with the necessary care and
support. However, these individuals have unjustifiably failed to comply with
their responsibility, resulting in harm to the victim.
Elderly neglect may occur in a variety of different ways. One of the most
noticeable forms of abuse is physical neglect. This type of elder neglect
occurs when an individual is not provided with access to basic and fundamental
necessities, such as food and water. If an individual is not provided with
adequate quantities of these resources, he/she may suffer from malnutrition.
Unsubstantial levels of essential vitamins and minerals may decrease immune
system responses, increasing vulnerability to serious illness and disease.
Malnutrition will eventually result in starvation and, if the issue is not
addressed, the victim will die. Likewise, if an individual does not have access
to necessary quantities of water, he/she will become severely dehydrated. This
may also result in serious illness and death. If a care take fails to address
an individual’s personal hygiene, this additionally is a type of neglect.
equally adverse form of elderly neglect is medical neglect. Medical neglect
occurs when an individual is denied access to essential medical attention. If a
victim does not receive treatment for illnesses or injury, the severity of
these conditions may increase. If illnesses are left untreated, again, it may
result in the death of the victim. Likewise, if an elder is not supplied with
essential medication, such as blood pressure medication, the consequences to
his/her health may be serious ones.
Elderly individuals are often subjected to psychological elder neglect. This
type of abuse occurs when an individual is frequently humiliated, demeaned, or
insulted. This behavior may cause a victim to develop deleterious psychological
conditions, including depression and low self-esteem. A victim of abuse and
neglect may experience physical or emotional abandonment, occurring when an
individual withholds affection from a victim.
Speaking to an elderly individual
as if he/she is not capable of understanding the conversation or treating
him/her like a child are also behaviors that constitute elderly neglect.
Disregarding an individual’s wishes, desires, and ideas and ignoring him/her is
harmful to an individual’s psychological and emotional well being, no matter
how old he/she is. Family members and caretakers are not the only individuals
that subject elderly individuals to neglect. Elders are often responsible for
Due to depression, immobility, inability, or just due to lack of
caring, elders may fail to provide themselves with essential necessities,
including food, clothing, proper shelter, and medical care, as well as proper
personal hygiene. Self-neglect is potentially just as detrimental as neglect at
the hands of others.